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[216] Wordsworth somewhere rebukes the poets for making the owl a bodeful bird. He had himself done so in the ‘Evening Walk,’ and corrects his epithets to suit his later judgment, putting ‘gladsome’ for ‘boding,’ and replacing

The tremulous sob of the complaining owl


The sportive outcry of the mocking owl.

Indeed, the character of the two poems is so much changed in the revision as to make the dates appended to them a misleading anachronism. But there is one truly Wordsworthian passage which already gives us a glimpse of that passion with which he was the first to irradiate descriptive poetry and which sets him on a level with Turner.

'T is storm; and hid in mist from hour to hour
All day the floods a deepening murmur pour:
The sky is veiled and every cheerful sight;
Dark is the region as with coming night;
But what a sudden burst of overpowering light!
Triumphant on the bosom of the storm,
Glances the fire-clad eagle's wheeling form;
Eastward, in long prospective glittering shine
The wood-crowned cliffs that o'er the lake recline;
Those eastern cliffs a hundred streams unfold,
At once to pillars turned that flame with gold;
Behind his sail the peasant tries to shun
The West that burns like one dilated sun,
Where in a mighty crucible expire
The mountains, glowing hot like coals of fire.

Wordsworth has made only one change in these verses, and that for the worse, by substituting ‘glorious’ (which was already implied in ‘glances’ and ‘fireclad’) for ‘wheeling.’ In later life he would have found it hard to forgive the man who should have made cliffs recline over a lake. On the whole, what strikes us as most prophetic in these poems is their want of continuity, and the purple patches of true poetry on a texture

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